Evil Geniuses’ League of Legends squad are is facing an unexpected challenge as they prepare to fight for their jobs in early September. The team’s in-game leader, Shin “Helios” Dong-jin is now in Korea renewing his visa until Aug. 22, compromising much-needed practice time.
The news comes on the heels of a perfect performance during the last week of the League Championship Series (LCS) regular season.During the four-game win streak, Evil Geniuses showed they can compete with the top teams in the league, even if they stuttered in the beginning of the season. The run capped-off a seven win, three loss performance across the final four weeks of competition, in contrast to the team’s three wins and 15 losses during the initial seven weeks of play.
Unfortunately, the team’s performance failed to lift them out of the bottom two spots in the standings.That means they have to re-earn their place in the LCS by playing against up-and-coming teams in a relegation tournament.
Even with their recent run of form, the team is understandably disappointed by the result.
“It still feels pretty awful knowing that we have zero chance at making (the World Championships), because we performed so well that final week,” said Eugene “Pobelter” Park in a recent Facebook post.
Evil Geniuses’ is has been an easy favorite in their upcoming relegation matches. But the absence of Shin surely won’t help.
“Helios is in Korea right now getting his visa,” Park wrote in his Facebook post. “So we haven’t been getting team practice in. With the lack of scrims, everyone has just been practicing individually.”
Shin’s absence is prohibiting any kind of meaningful team-building. The server lag between the U.S. and Korea makes it impossible for the team to play together.
“Unfortunately, with 160~180 ping to the KR servers from California, it’s pretty impossible to practice effectively when all 9 other players have 7 ping,” said Park. Ping is a delay between player input and character action which can put esports competitors on disadvantageous footing.
Fortunately for Evil Geniuses, relegation matches begin a full two weeks after Shin returns from Korea. So while they might not be able to practice with their star, they’ll at least be able to play with him when it matters most.
In the mean time, they will have to hope that their experience on the LCS stage and recent momentum have prepared them for defending their livelihood when games begin in early September.